LISTEN NOW – Youth Prophecy Poetry Contest Award Winning Poems
HEAR the award winning poets read their poems.
The Pauli Murray Project recognized six young writers as award winners in the Youth Prophecy Poetry Contest as a part of the Pauli Murray Day in Durham festivities.
The Youth Prophecy Poetry Contest honors poets who address pressing human rights issues in their work. This year’s poems addressed issues such as poverty and racism with eloquence and courage, reflecting the students’ keen perceptions and desire for justice. An expert panel of local poets and educators selected the winners.
The winners in the category for 13-15 year olds are:
Bethanie Robie, Equality, First Place
Frederick Feely, III, What Is It About My Black?, Second Place
Trina Aiken, Brave, Honorable Mention
The winners in the category for 16-19 year olds are:
Chloe Brown, Free and Reduced, First Place
Ashton Reddish, Our Clouds Are Different Down South, Second Place (tie)Sara Powell, Why I Love the South, Second Place (tie)
Ms. Robie, Mr. Feely, Ms. Aiken, Ms. Brown and Ms. Reddish are students at Durham School of the Arts. Each poet received a certificate and a cash prize.
“It was great to read young poets wrestling with the issues of difference, the possibility and impossibility of equality, the same questions that Pauli Murray engaged through poetry and action,” said Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, black feminist writer who served as one of the judges, “Now it is up to us to partner with these young people to create the future we all deserve.”
The Youth Prophecy Poetry Contest is an initiative of the Pauli Murray Project to introduce youth to Durham’s important legacy of civil and human rights activism and to Pauli Murray, one of our prominent homegrown activists and poets. The Youth Prophecy Poetry contest has received financial support from the Community Cares grant program at Duke University, North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, Center Studio Architecture, Cynthia Brown, a donor advised fund at Triangle Community Foundation and Walltown Neighborhood Ministries.
“I am thrilled to read the promising words of a future worth walking into, expressed from the hearts of a generation that is well on its way to excellence!” shared performance poet and judge Kimberly “Redefining Freedom” McRae, “Bravo, to OUR children, for a job extremely well done.”
Pauli Murray (1910-1985) was raised in Durham’s West End neighborhood as a part of the distinguished Fitzgerald family and graduated from Hillside High School in 1926. As a young woman, she learned about the importance of equality and justice for everyone. Throughout her life as an activist, lawyer, poet, priest, she fought for human rights. Poetry was one medium Murray used to share her thoughts and convictions. Dark Testament and Other Poems by Pauli Murray was published in 1970.